What do I believe about horse training? What are my experiences (limited tho they may be)? What is my desired outcome and how am I going to get there?
|today's pics are all of phillip dutton, for no reason other than i admire him. and upper level xc pics are badass.|
the above is from Fair Hill 3* in 2015
Anyway. Lately I've been thinking about quotes from various trainers over the years. One, from Dan: "If what you are doing isn't working, slow down."
|2016 Rolex 4*|
And local horsemanship pro Jim's words often echo in my head: 'Whenever you ask the horse for anything, know exactly what you want. And do not move the goal posts midstream.'
Back to the earlier questions, what is my desired outcome? Simple, it's twofold: I want to event Charlie. And I want to have ALL of the fun while doing so. How am I going to get there? Well. One step at a time. Basically, my motto has been 'go slow to go fast.'
|2016 Rolex 4* stadium|
But for fuck's sake. There is no mother fucking sense in hanging a picture over the giant goddamn crack in your wall bc your shoddily-laid foundation shifted beneath your feet. And that sure as shit ain't the house's fault either. If you're impatient about not being able to choose paint colors or buy furniture yet.... maybe an undeveloped plot of land isn't for you.
|2016 Great Meadow Nations Cup 3* .... honestly not 100% this is pdutty... but whatever, it's a cool pic anyway lol|
Bc let's be real, the horse can't walk and chew gum at the same time lol, and I just have to meet him at his level. He probably needs a little more time than the average ottb, and that's totally fine.
|2016 Great Meadow Nations Cup 3*|
In effect, the horse did not know that it's ok to be wrong, that he wouldn't be punished for mistakes. And he therefore did not trust situations when he was confused or didn't understand. He lacked confidence. And it drives me crazy when I hear this type of behavior described as 'naughty' bc that's just not fair to the horse.
Nine times out of 10, if the horse doesn't give the right answer it's because they either don't understand what you want or bc they're afraid they'll be wrong or get in trouble or be hurt.
|2016 Plantation 3*|
For Charlie, I've had to purposefully show him that it's ok to be wrong. That he can give the wrong answer, receive a correction in proportion to the mistake, and then be rewarded upon getting it right. As Janet Foy said, "Ask the horse a question. See what answer he gives then either reward or ask again." Nbd, and no dwelling on the mistakes.
Once Charlie learned that he always has a place he can go - that he's always safe so long as he's trying, he's become more willing, more interested in figuring out what I'm saying, what I'm asking. He's grown curious. He volunteers. He wants to participate. And it's so much more fun!!!
|2016 Plantation 2*|
- I would ALWAYS prefer to finish a ride wishing I had gone a little farther, done a little more, vs. the alternative of regretting not quitting while I was ahead.
- However disciplined I expect Charlie to be, I need to hold myself to a standard 10x as strict.
|2016 Plantation 3*|
What about you - do you find yourself agreeing with any of the above? Disagreeing? Maybe you're more comfortable with pushing the envelope and testing a horse's limits earlier on? Or maybe you think I've got it totally backasswards, and your experiences with green horses have led you to entirely different conclusions?
Surely I can't be the only one who spends way too much time thinking about this stuff haha (or am I?) - do you have little rules or guidelines that you always fall back on like my two above?
Or maybe you wish I'd shut up already about this meaningless navel-gazing philosophical drivel and just post more pix of Charlie's cute face plz?? lol....
(*provided he can stay on his goddamn feet!)